1. ITV Report

Town centres to benefit from cash and Portas' help

Mary Portas' scheme will provide cash and strategic support for 12 British towns. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Twelve town centres across the country have been named as Portas Pilots in an attempt to rejuventate high street shopping.

The towns to receive a portion of a £1.2m cash pot and tailored support package are Bedford, Croydon, Dartford, Bedminster, Liskeard, Margate, Market Rasen, Nelson, Newbiggin by the Sea, Stockport, Stockton on Tees, and Wolverhampton.

Each location is set to benefit from a tailored package of support from both local government minister Grant Shapps and retail guru Mary Portas.

"With high street pilots being such a central plank to Mary Portas' recommendations to Government, today's announcement of the winning Town Teams is fantastic news," said Perter Drummond, president of the British Council of Shopping Centres.

"Local communities from up and down the country have submitted some incredibly innovative ideas designed to boost struggling high streets, and the enthusiasm demonstrated is to be applauded."

If your town has been chosen by the scheme, here's what you're promised:

  • Bedford - offering support for High Street firms and community use of empty properties.
  • Croydon - transforming the riot-stricken areas into a thriving market, food and cultural quarter.
The 144-year-old House of Reeves furniture shop in Croydon was destroyed by fire during riots last August. Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire
  • Dartford - opening up central spaces for use by classes and clubs and starting a school for shopkeepers.
  • Bedminster, Bristol - putting town on the map for street art and street theatre. Bicycle rickshaw service and a review of parking.
  • Liskeard, Cornwall - competing against the edge of town supermarket with a vibrant arts scene, guerrilla gardening and yarn bombing.
  • Margate - putting education and enjoyment at the heart of the town centres transformation.
  • Market Rasen, Lincs - restoring the market town look and feel, advertising free parking and mentoring new businesses.
Market Rasen in Lincolnshire is set for a makeover. Credit: Flickr / James Truepenny under Creative Commons licence.
  • Nelson, Lancs - young persons café, sports activities, and a new art and vintage market.
  • Newbiggin by the Sea, Northumberland - better branding of the town, improving local transport and hosting pop up shops.
  • Stockport, Gtr Manchester - improving markets and Underbanks areas with a creative arts complex, outdoor screenings, a new parking strategy and street champions.
  • Stockton on Tees, North Yorks - live entertainment at the Globe Theatre to boost evening leisure economy alongside specialist High Street and evening markets.
  • Wolverhampton - modern day town criers and on-street performers and a dragons den style competition to support local entrepreneurs.